The worst case scenario:
By about 2035, society crumbles under the weight of disease, famine, and war. My wife and I travel by foot north from New England into Ontario, our daughter on my back, where we join a small commune of like-minded survivors. One day I return to camp from another unsuccessful hunt, sweaty from the oppressive sun, a fleabitten squirrel or two, if that, over my shoulder. My wife looks up from the berry plant she’s picking from.
“I’m glad you’re back,” she greets me. “The other women and I were reminiscing about old movies while we worked today -- do you remember what Timothee Chalamet’s first movie role was?”
“What’s a movie, Momma?” My daughter asks.
My wife answers after a long pause. “Do you remember the play Daddy wrote for the last harvest festival? It’s kind of like that, but with costumes and sets, and more interesting plot. And while you watch you can sit in a comfy chair and eat any food you want.”
We’re silent for a moment, remembering movie theaters, and air conditioning, and popcorn. My wife turns to me again. “Did you ever see Call Me By Your Name?”
“No,” I lie.
“You know, before I saw Timothee Chalamet in it I thought I was a lesbian.” She turns away from me to mutter something under her breath, but I can still make it out. “Sometimes I still do.”
“What’s a lesbian, Momma?” My daughter asks.
That night, I refuse my portion of squirrel. I drink too much latrine wine. I catch dysentary. There are no antibiotics anymore. In my final, feverish moments I am tormented by a vision of Timothée Chalamet, young and fresh-faced, with his shock of thick black hair, his fine nose, his delicate jawline. I curse fossil fuels, and try to speak. “If only...Prius,” I say, but it’s no use. I’m too weak — my wife can’t make out the words. “Lady Bird?” she guesses. “Are you trying to say, ‘Lady Bird’? That was a really good movie, wasn’t it?”
I die. My wife doesn’t mind -- one less mouth to feed, and it’s not like I was any good at hunting anyway.
The best case scenario:
The year is 2086. We have conquered climate change. I am alone in my third-floor walkup apartment above a Lebanese delicatessen. I'm surrounded by cat piss-stained walls and the stench of falafel oil. I am watching the Academy Awards on my fuzzy, standard definition TV when I see Timothee Chalamet receive a Lifetime achievement award from the Academy. They put his picture up on the board behind him as he accepts the trophy. The audience gasps, remembering his shock of thick black hair, his fine nose, his delicate jawline. He looks nothing like the stooped, jowly man in an ill-fitting tuxedo before them. Suddenly, all at once, the audience begins to laugh, forgiving their own bald spots and rogue hairs and liver spots and reveling in the sheer joy of their continued existence. He is just like them. He, too, is succumbing to gravity and entropy, and suddenly they understand the futility of those daily spin classes and invigorating creams and strategic injections, and they are at peace. I am at peace too, 3,000 miles away, laughing with them in my cat piss-stained apartment. Outside, the temperature is perfect.